Rorate Caeli

For the record: CDW response to dubium on liturgical dance

Priest and people dancing around the altar at Mass -- Philippines. 

The salient passage in this letter:

"The liturgical law of the Roman Rite does not foresee the use of dance or drama within the Sacred Liturgy, unless particular legislation has been enacted by the Bishops' Conference and confirmed by the Holy See. Any other practice is to be considered an abuse."

On one hand, there is a denunciation of the practice of liturgical dance, even though the query comes from a country in Asia, where many modern liturgists would argue that the condemnation of liturgical dance is not applicable for reasons of "inculturation". On the other hand, it is not a blanket condemnation, as it clearly notes that bishops' conferences may seek Roman approval for this practice in their respective territories. 

What do you think, dear readers?

H/t to The Pinoy Catholic for the picture


  1. Just like CITH.

    An opening for Episcopal Conferences to seek an "indult".

  2. "Or an opening for the bishops' conferences to seek approval for this practice?"

    Obviously this. Such is the "New Springtime." Eat the poppies! mmmmm..... tasty. Wonderful!

  3. Wiseguy4:38 PM

    What do I think? You don't want to know what I really think.

  4. Let them treat the nervous ordure with the contempt we all know it deserves . .

    Cant see any problem with that


  5. Jason C.5:14 PM

    "The liturgical law of the Roman Rite does not foresee the use of dance or drama within the Sacred Liturgy....

    "YES! ALRIGHT!" *fist pump*


    "Never mind, I give up."

  6. Gravitas5:30 PM

    Even with something so simple, there's not just a "no!"

    It has to be massaged, explained away, go talk to the Bishop, etc., not unless the Vatican has approved it previously, bla bla bla.

    I's sorry, they take every teachable moment and just blow it.

  7. Wink! Wink!

  8. What an abomination. Why can't people just obey? If you want to be entertained, go be a protestant. And why is there even a question regarding a possibilty. Why are indults given for disobedience?

  9. Patrick6:24 PM

    Oh for the days when there were leaps and pirouettes at the papal liturgies of Blessed John Paul II! I still remember rolling over in laughter when "native dancers" in outlandish costumes were solemnly led up to the papal throne by prissy masters of ceremony after performing their capers and hijinx to the beat of drums, gongs and whistles. I still remember the beaming look of papal appreciation for their high art and devotional piety as they knelt in supplicatory reverence careful not to crush their feathers,bones, bells or ribbons. At least back then there was some entertainment in an otherwise dry, stale NO mass which after all had the stamp of saintly papal approval. How quickly we lose our traditions.

  10. oreoman7:17 PM

    Pure madness AND THE SSPX IS not in full COMMUNION.

  11. I think correct answer should be like this (I miss this more and more):

    Dear Mr Flores,

    Please, go and prepare good stack. Papal legate with torch arrives next plane. Do not inform anyone in your parish.

  12. Hilltop7:24 PM

    Just enough to both keep the wackos encouraged and the trads off balance.
    Wackos will see the prevarication and run with its ambiguities; Trads will see the prevarication and seek clarification.
    In the end, guess who comes out with their agenda further down the road?

  13. Cliftonensis7:26 PM

    Always thought it was very self indulgent and detracted from the dignity of the mass. Ended up at a Neo-Cat mass and they all started dancing around the altar and all of us non -neocat priests left.


  14. "unless particular legislation has been enacted by the Bishops' Conference and confirmed by the Holy See..."

    There is the loophole.

  15. Elizabeth9:21 PM

    Why can't these people be crystal clear, as they were in the "old days"? It's really much simpler and quicker to be straight and to the point. Gosh, now there's another loophole. Imagine that.

  16. Another "time bomb," just as we're ready to celebrate 50 years of Vatican II. This letter means that liturgical dance is possible. Now it is probable.

    Here come the smiling matrons with their smoking bowls.

    Thankfully, I'll never see it. Thank you, Archbishop Lefebvre, for the SSPX.

  17. I am in awe that anyone would find such an atmosphere conducive to prayer and worship. I experienced an Ordinary Form Mass last night after which I promptly poured myself a pint of beer upon returning home. I needed it to quell my nerves, which were so shaken up by the R & B style singing of the cantor who was belting out Psalms as if she were Beyonce performing at Madison Square Garden. Not to mention many other abuses. The pope sets a very nice example with his reverent Ordinary Form Masses but these Progressivists can care less about examples. They need rules and they need them enforced.

  18. Benedict Carter10:44 PM

    You put yer left leg in
    yer left leg out
    in out in out
    shake it all about
    do the Second Pentecost
    and you turn around
    That's what it's all about
    The Second Pentecost!
    The Second Pentecost!
    The Second Pentecost!
    That's what it's all about!

    (All fall over frothing at the mouth)

  19. Nothing in this document is at all contrary to Cardinal Arinze's famous remarks on liturgical dance.

  20. Katsumoto11:56 PM

    This is absolute madness.

    The FSSPX is considered not to be in "full communion", and is probably in danger of some sort of bullshit censure... but liturgical dancers? Sure! Why not? As long as "particular legislation has been enacted by the Bishops' Conference and confirmed by the Holy See".

  21. Peterman2:25 AM

    ", wherever you may be, for I am the lord of the dance said he and I lead you all.." Blah blah blah, i actually heard this nonsense at the NO mass growing up in the 70's and 80's.

  22. Ld Schmidt3:08 AM

    Easy Katsumotto. Lets not damage our own Souls.

  23. Barbara5:15 AM

    Pathetic - totally - and the giddiness goes on and on. We have such a long way to go in the RESTORATION of Catholic Identity because those at the helm of the Church refuse to see that probably the main cause of the terrible disorientation we are suffering has been the result of the deformation of the Catholic Mass - which is no longer "catholic" in the true sense of the word, with Pope Paul VI's New Mass, as no two are the same - always variations on a theme. Maybe he hadn't intended that to happen - but it has - it is blashepmous really and I can't stand it. As for liturgical dance at the Holy Sacfrifice of th Mass - a scholar and priest told me that God is greatly offended by these abberations at Mass. He also said that these abuses are like having a picnic at Golgotha. That should give pause to wake up and think - I get frightened sometimes when I see such a casual approach to Sacred Liturgy.

  24. Gratias7:24 AM

    Silly me thought tambourines were the worst.

    I think a new Council should be avoided for at least the next 100 years.

  25. Andrew10:47 AM

    Notice there are few men in the picture. Much has been written about the feminization of Christinaity. Few men would find this kind of activity edifying. Federica Matthewes Green, an Eastern Orthodox, writer has said that men are attracted to Eastern Orthodoxy BECAUSE of its traditional rites and the challenge traditional Faith offers (i.e. fasting). I would say the same applys to traditional Catholicism as well. The last thing I want to do is dance at Mass.

  26. Manfred1:02 PM

    In the Western business world, things are quite precise. Example: auto and home insurance policies begin at 12:01 AM on (date). In the Church, JP II forbids female altar servers. The practice is encouraged by some bishops priests despite the pope's order so JP II reconsiders and the practice is normalized. A three week Synod has just begun asking where all the ADULT Catholics have gone. Tell them to phone me.

  27. Liturgical dance is not...well, kind of be admitted into the Novus Ordo.

    However, Communion in the hand, modern Eucharistic Prayers (designed to override the Roman Canon), altar girls, drums, guitars, EMs and watered-down prayers are very much a part of the Novus Ordo.

    How absurd.

    The bottom line is that the Novus Ordo is so far removed from Traditional Roman Liturgical practice and so far gone that Rome may as well permit dancers to perform during Novus Ordo Masses.

    The Latin Church is in such liturgical disarray that liturgical dancing girls, if you will, would not damage the damaged Novus Ordo beyond its already damaged state.

    Besides, dioceses are always on the lookout for gimmicks to entertain their bored congregants.


  28. hilltop2:29 PM

    Hey! I just remembered: there is liturgical dance described by Nathanial Hawthorne in his "Young Goodman Brown" A short, and perhaps appropo reading given our times and circumstances...

  29. cyrillist2:47 PM

    "...does not foresee..." "...does not foresee..." "...does not foresee..."

    In other words, as David Bowie so eloquently put it, "Let's dance!"

    Because we've been told that we're all grownups now. Because the Church cannot simply say no to anything. Because the Vatican acts as if we're all responsible enough to magically realize on our own that liturgical abuses are wrong, and spontaneously return to the reverence of the TLM without having to be told to do so by a (gasp) higher authority.

    Post-council in a nutshell, and no change in sight. Pray, pray, pray, usquequo, usquequo, usquequo...

  30. A lot of commenters don't seem to notice that this document neither gives any permission whatsoever for liturgical dance nor promises the approval of the Holy See should such be sought by a Conference. I refer them all - again - to the famous comments of Cardinal Arinze on the matter.

  31. Casanova9:52 PM

    Charmingly naive, Hidden One.

  32. If ever I see "liturgical dance", I will be sorely tempted to introduce "liturgical tackle and drag out the door".

  33. Transitionalist2:18 AM

    Hidden One:

    If no application for approval of 'liturgical dance' has a chance of succeeding, then why does the CDW even mention the possibility?

  34. Barbara4:05 AM

    Yes. Liturgical dance (shudder!) shouldn't even be an issue at a Catholic Mass. And what a wishy-washy - dithering about the place letter from Church authorities.


  35. VII Catechism seems to support liturgical dance:

    1674 Besides sacramental liturgy and sacramentals, catechesis must take into account the forms of piety and popular devotions among the faithful. The religious sense of the Christian people has always found expression in various forms of piety surrounding the Church's sacramental life, such as the veneration of relics, visits to sanctuaries, pilgrimages, processions, the stations of the cross, religious dances, the rosary, medals,180 etc.

  36. Inculturation". Maybe 8 or so years ago at a Greek orthodox liturgy the congregants were blessed with asperges - first such blessing for me...I was lucky enough to be invited by an orthodox friend. It's been years since i've been blessed withthescentof frankincense/mryrhh (whatever's init). It wass when i used to go to Mass in a Church in Brighton, England. I haven't heard praises in Latin or been blessed by incense carrying prayers to heaven for a long while.

    I dunno...if we knew/remembered/cared about what was/is right with Mass, there would be no breath wasted on arguing about what was wrong.

  37. Lee Lovelock-Jemmott1:31 PM

    Indults should be crushed mainly. After reading Mirari Vos on the bus today and especially reading this passage, " Indeed you will accomplish this perfectly if, as the duty of your office demands, you attend to yourselves and to doctrine and meditate on these words: "the universal Church is affected by any and every novelty" and the admonition of Pope Agatho: "nothing of the things appointed ought to be diminished; nothing changed; nothing added; but they must be preserved both as regards expression and meaning."[6] Therefore may the unity which is built upon the See of Peter as on a sure foundation stand firm. May it be for all a wall and a security, a safe port, and a treasury of countless blessings.[7] To check the audacity of those who attempt to infringe upon the rights of this Holy See or to sever the union of the churches with the See of Peter, instill in your people a zealous confidence in the papacy and sincere veneration for it. As St. Cyprian wrote: "He who abandons the See of Peter on which the Church was founded, falsely believes himself to be a part of the Church."

    This brought to the fore, with all these innovators and the fact they wish to subvert, from within, the Holy Church that the biggest hole open to these serpents and wolves are Bishop Conferences and their want for 'indults'. These need to be forworped ASAP. Then to be rid off the heretics and heathens within the church !

  38. The bishps can't win for losing. In some places dance during liturgies is historically the norm. In Africa there alwasys has been some level of dance during mass and it is as much a part of their culture as apple pie is to American culture. So I don't believe that a letter stating that there are no circumstances where liturgical dance is acceptable would be wrong and could be misinterpreted by cutures where dance is the norm.

    I believe all forms of dance, plays, financial presentations, committee presentations, processions, costumes, groups up on the alter around the priest (adult or children), clapping in the nave, applauding musical presentations etc. etc. is liturgical abuse.

  39. SolipsoLiberta4:35 PM

    How DARE any of you suggest that liturgical dance shouldn't be allowed? I'm OUTRAGED.

    Listen: We need to express ourselves. It's time to totally abandon all that old cramped stuff. It's the 21st century! Wake up! I gotta be me, and I gotta be free. Liturgical dance helps me to be both me and free. And in making myself free, by being me, others who see me being meer and meer and becoming freer and freer with each passing week themselves become ever meer and ever freer. Everybody wins!

    And don't forget: Every flower must fertilized in the new springtime. Every flower must bloom. Especially me.

  40. Ld Schmidt1:57 AM

    There is some fertilizer being spread around here, for sure!!!

  41. Anonymous5:33 AM

    I really don't care what the N.O. do as I am a Traditioal Latin Mass woman and a firm believer in F.S.S.P.X. and I thank God for Archbishop Marcal Lefebvre, if it was not for him, the T.L.M. would have been totally obliterated. When oh! when will the Holy Father apoligize to the Catholic faithful for the mistakes that were in Vatican II, and the ambiguity that came with the periti(experts) most from the Rhine with an agenda for modernism, and didn't all of these periti take the oath against modernism (that oath must have meant nothing to them) and that these pertit were led by the Holy Ghost Pleasssse. Didn't Jesus say " let your yes be yes and your no be no" and not 'maybe'.

  42. JeSuisDésolé9:43 PM

    Anonymous, you're quite right. It's high time for the conciliar popes to STOP apologizing to the Jews and all the rest of the heathens, and START apologizing first to God, and then to Catholics for the horrors of Vatican II and its aftermath.


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